Hawks: nothing motivates like a kick up the bum
When Hawthorn looked like crashing out of the finals, former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett came to the rescue.
Kennett, the Hawks’ president, didn’t flinch when he gave the Hawks players and coach Alastair Clarkson a giant kick up the butt last week. His strong criticism gave the media plenty to fuel in the lead-up to the Hawks’ do-or-die match against Melbourne.
Captain Sam Mitchell defended his Hawks teammates and an “outcoached” Clarkson after their pitiful loss to the Sydney Swans, while former Hawk star Shane Crawford hit out at Kennett.
You’ve got to hand it to the former Victorian premier. He knows how to lead. And if that means blasting his players and coach, so be it. For Kennett, it’s all about creating results – no matter how cutting his criticism can be.
Kennett knew he would get an almighty reaction after telling the Hawks community that the team was outplayed and outcoached.
Blasting proud, confident men is often the best fuel they can ever get. It forces them into behaviours which can trigger winning performances.
And it showed yesterday , when the Hawks fought off a desperate Melbourne to remain in the top eight – and stay in contention for the finals.
On the other hand, an inspired bunch of Demons gave it their best shot against the Hawks. But now, the Dees’ finals’ hopes have faded. It was a massive effort from the Dees, who have been branded “easybeats” in recent years.
But inspiring leadership is a powerful force and Melbourne great Jim Stynes, who is fighting cancer, has been a sensation this year. He has shown incredible fighting spirit, which has lifted the players who have enjoyed a purple patch in the past few weeks.
Leadership is a powerful tool in creating wins. It sparks the right action, inspires hope and generates a presence that helps unite a team as they strive to win.
If Kennett needs to send shockwaves through the club – if the team is losing – he won’t hesitate in chastising the Hawks. Hawthorn looked lost earlier in the year. In May, I said the Hawks’ year appeared over.
But now, the Hawks are almost certain to contest the finals series. And when the umpire blows the whistle in September, anything can happen. It becomes a whole new ball game.
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